WARNING! This is a long post filled with a personal story and a lot of passion about the growth we will experience when we face our fears.
- If you want to view a shorter video version of my fears: You can watch them here.
- And if you want to jump ahead to the 5 Truths – you are welcome to scroll down.
Six months ago I boarded a plane to move across the ocean to the only place in the world my husband and I said we never wanted to live.
The day my husband called with the news that we had been asked to move “there,” I felt my stomach churn while my mind raced… I immediately imagined the worst, a brown dusty desert, a compound in the middle of nowhere that looked like a mix of something from the Waco shootout, and a Mad Max Movie.
The list of fears was incredibly long…
- If I had to paint a picture of the word stress – it would look like a brown dusty desert. How could anyone live there and stay sane?
- Women are treated so differently… Could I be cloaked, covered, and have basic freedoms taken from me and still feel valuable? Could my husband live in this environment and still value me?
- Could I love in a land where my faith had to be undercover? And if my faith had to be undercover how would I cope with the drastic changes?
- Would it be like the movies? …Terrorists? …Bombings?
- What would it be like to grocery shop and cook? Would the food be safe? Would it be identifiable?
And the list goes on…
After a week of long conversations, research and lots of prayer, my husband and I felt strongly that we were supposed to say yes to this unwanted change.
When we announced our decision most people gasped aloud splashing some of their own fears back onto us, some waited for us to turn our announcement into a joke, and others quickly spoke encouraging words while their body language said something else. It was the very rare occasion that we told anyone and had them get genuinely excited for us.
In spite of it all we clung to the reasons behind our decision:
- Seeking truth instead of simply believing urban legends
- Embracing an opportunity to experience life in another country
- Seeking to understand what it is like to be a minority
- Choosing to practice what I frequently teach: “Take the risk and experience life outside of your comfort zone!”
- An opportunity to turn this unwanted change into a learning-laboratory about change.
Two months later my husband went ahead to prepare the way for our little family. Nearly three months after that our dog made his first trip across the ocean and a week later I sat in the Houston airport waiting for my flight to take off. Minutes into my wait, an alarm went off in the airport and continued to sound for about 20 minutes. (Not a very settling feeling when you are about to take a flight to a land surrounded by so many urban legends.)
In spite of the sound of the alarm, I could not wait to see my husband again, and to check on our four-legged furry baby. I knew I believed in our reasons for doing this, and was comforted by the reassurances I received when I prayed, when I read and when I listened to music. Hanging onto the vision and choosing faith had created a bubble that helped me move forward in spite of the fear and the pressure that had been building for months just outside of that bubble. So I turned my thoughts to those reasons, turned up the music on my iPad and boarded the plane.
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” John Wayne
Today I’ve been in this foreign land for 6 months. Some things have been easier than I imagined. Some things have been harder. And some things have simply defied imagination! Frequently when I share the stories of our experiences, people have commented on my courage while they dismiss their own strength.
“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.” Henry Ward Beecher
The thing you fear may not be a move to a foreign land. It may be standing up to a bully, it may be instigating a change at work, it may be asking someone for help.
Below are Five Truths To Help You Do What You Fear:
- There is growth and life outside of each one of our comfort zones! The reality is that what is ordinary for me may be unusual for you. And what is ordinary for you may be unusual for me. The secret is to do the things that are unusual for YOU! …One baby step at a time!
- Don’t give in, don’t give up, and don’t go running back! …Most of us can catch a vision that requires us to leave our comfort zones to pursue it. Many of us will even take initial steps to pursue those visions. The biggest temptation we face is when we are just outside of our comfort zone and a great distance from our vision.
- Remember that imagination is often worse than reality.
- Hold on to your WHY and count your blessings!
- Facing fear doesn’t stop all fear; it builds muscle to help you fight the next fear. (The fears I am fighting today are not the same as the ones I fought six months ago, but there is always a choice to make – let the new fear limit you, or let it grow you…)
If I had it to do all over again, I would still say yes to this: my faith, my marriage, my knowledge, my understanding, and my friendships are all growing.
How about you… What have you said yes to, that is growing you? What tips do you have for others that are webbed in place by fear?
Image Credits: iStock